Salt on a Water Worm
Irrational Fullness of Life

Roundhouse of Cards

Damn it. I just love pecans.

Surface water users and the river itself, are the first to get screwed in a drought. Shortfalls are already hitting farmers and the river ecosystem on the lower Rio Grande. They’ve been making up the difference with three solid years of heavy groundwater pumping to keep the pecan trees alive. The pumping is further reducing flows required downstream. That’s very serious and has everyone in a Texas-sized tizzy.

Reducing city use isn’t on the table. It isn’t even in the kitchen. None of the legislative proposals to meet drought challenges specifically include reducing municipal or industrial demand. On the contrary, those are viewed almost unquestioningly as economic engines of the state. The State Engineer is empowered to speed such water transfers.

There is a fundamental bias against desert agriculture, even agriculture in the river valley where it has existed for thousands of years. The ‘antiquated agriculture” construct is at the heart of water right transfers. The belief says we don’t need local food and it isn’t economic to grow it. This view nests nicely with memes like how new construction equals economic development and people are more important than a tiny fish.   

Suggestions to “live within our means” and become more accountable for water use and misuse are met with a metaphoric snort of derision, like a Memorial maybe. Meanwhile elaborate pipeline schemes gain momentum.

Attempting to move more water when there is less water to move, seems foolhardy. As do some of our assumptions about what constitutes a healthy economy. Have the building industry and water marketeers dominated the water transfer conversation to the detriment of agricultural interests and native river ecosystems?

You might well think that. I couldn't possibly comment.


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